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BOOK REVIEWS727 CampaneUa insinuates in his third chapter was capable ofheading off,at its ?e?-y inception, die long controversy over science and Scripture that was provoked by GaUleo's advocacy of Copernicanism over the then-prevailing AristoteUanPtolemaic world view. William A.Wallace, O.P The Catholic University ofAmerica The Burdens ofSisterMargaret. By Craig Harune. (NewYork: Doubleday. 1994. Pp. xx, 359. $24.00.) This book teUs a wonderfully rich story. Margaret Smulders seems to have been a woman who persisted where others might have acquiesced—she was not liked by her peers among the Franciscan Grey Sisters of Leuven—and her determination to maintain an honorable place Ui her convent, despite charges that she had been possessed by the devU, yielded Ui the end the kind of documentation that means a rare opportunity for the historian who can recognize it. When Harline draws inferences about matters the parties were reluctant to discuss directly—for example, that Sister Margaret's problems with the confessor assigned to her convent began with his making sexual advances to her—die argument carries conviction. He is also a shrewd observer of the personal detaUs which the authors ofmemoranda may convey about themselves without meaning to, and which may influence how the documents should be read, such as factional aUegiances among the sisters (mostly not Ur Margaret's favor), or the record-keeping habits ofclerical visitors. FtfiaUy, as a scholar who has made himseU at home among the earnest, rather dour reforming prelates of the CounterReformation era Ui the Spanish Netherlands, he is also able to display the workings of an ecclesiastical bureaucracy that investigated events reported at the convent with painstaking care,without quite being able to determine what it was reacting to. AU in aU,Harline brings us as close as we are likely to get to die lives and thoughts ofwomen reUgious in die first halfofthe seventeenth century. One might object that the book does Uttle to relate this intriguing story to larger historiographie issues. For example, the fact that Margaret's travaUs led her to take up the cause ofreform Ui her convent might have been the occasion for discussing what the reform ofreUgious orders meant Ui this period, but Harline forgoes the opportunity. In general, one finds nothing here ofthat sense for microhistory—for how a simple narrative can iUumine complex themes—of which Harline has elsewhere written persuasively. But such criticism would in my view be misplaced, for two reasons. First, there reaUy is no such thing as a simple narrative, a proposition weU estabUshed by this account of Sister Marget 's fight to stay in her convent. Secondly, and perhaps more to the point, there is the question of audience. WhUe professional historians write almost exclusively for each other, the bookstores are fuU of books about history, mostly by authors who do not bring to thetf subjects the critical judgment formed by a ca- 728BOOK REVIEWS reer in scholarship. To find a book like The Burdens ofSister Margaret, giving the literate reader a Uvely and criticaUy sound sense of what it meant to live in the reUgious world of the seventeenth century, is an occasion for rejoicing. James D.Tracy University ofMinnesota Music & Spectacle in Baroque Rome:Barberini Patronage under Urban VIII. By Frederick Hammond. (New Haven:Yale University Press. 1994. Pp. xxiv, 309. $40.00.) Attention given by historians to the opening of die first pubUc opera house inVenice Ui 1637 and the subsequent hegemony of Venetian opera has tended to relegate Roman opera of the period to the status of an "interlude" between that ofVenice and the early monodic settings of pastoral plays by the Florentines who (sincerely but erroneously) thought they were imitating ancient Greek tragedy. To the reader seeking a thorough-going treatment ofRome's contributions to this complex genre Frederick Hammond's book is a welcome and erudite addition. But the work is much more than a treatment of opera in Rome, as the title clearly indicates. Hammond has mined the extensive resources not only of the Vatican but also of various state archives and has fashioned a narrative that is at once dense with meticulously documented factual information yet manages to be stylishly...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 727-728
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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